Postcards are something you pick out to send to a friend or relative. Put a stamp on them, drop them in the mail and, boom, they’re gone forever — or not.
Preserved postcards accumulate meaning over time and provide glimpses into the past. Maybe the images on postcards can tell a historical story.
See for yourself at the Vintage Tulsa Show, scheduled Friday, Feb. 14, through Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Exchange Center at Expo Square, 4145 E. 21st St.
The Vintage Tulsa Show is an antiques and collectibles show staged twice annually at the fairgrounds. The one that will take place this weekend will be different from those in the past because it will feature sort of a show within a show. Jim Taylor, one of the country’s most prominent postcard dealers, is helping to organize a special postcard section inside the Vintage Tulsa Show.
A former president of the International Federation of Postcard Dealers, Taylor said his company (courthousesquare.net) produces antique postcard and paper shows around the country. He has contacts all across the U.S., and he wrangled a block of dealers to sell and display their items at the Vintage Tulsa Show.
“I have set up at the show several years in a row, so I’m well aware how successful that show has always been and how well-received they have been in that market,” Taylor said. “It’s a real honor for us to be able to bring some of our vendors in and have a section in that show.”
People collect different things for different reasons. How did postcards become Taylor’s passion? The hook was history, but it’s a Vinita story.
Taylor, who lives in Neosho, Missouri, grew up in Vinita. Raised in a newspaper family, Taylor said his father was with the Vinita Daily Journal all his life. He said the newspaper’s publisher, O.B. Campbell, wrote numerous books and articles on Indian Territory.
“I was sort of raised as a little kid around some of the people that really documented Oklahoma history, so I have always been interested in it,” Taylor said, adding that postcards have a significant place in history.
Decades ago, photographers would roll through towns and stop to take pictures of Main Street and perhaps local landmarks like train depots or hotels, according to Taylor. The photos became postcards that could be purchased by travelers who could send “made it this far” postcard messages back home.
As years passed and additional photos were taken, postcard images showed how the towns evolved, according to Taylor. He indicated that postcards are a great source of information when trying to get a building added to the National Register of Historic Places because postcard photographers captured images of how buildings looked at a specific moment in time.
Taylor said there is so much history in Oklahoma (Native American history included) that it makes it easy for postcard dealers to put together a good inventory of appealing items. He said he has vendors who specialize in antique postcards and photography, including single snapshots, photo albums and vintage photos from the 1800s and early 1900s.
The Vintage Tulsa Show is staged by Heritage Event Co., founded in 2009 by the husband-and-wife team of Scott and Gail Kinney.